(I’m still under the weather, so please excuse any typos in this post)
Saturday morning I got up, did the Friday recap on the blog, and got on Facebook. I was my usual jubilant self, shouting out to our pitmaster David Scott Walker and his team about the great food I’ve been eating all week and how I looked forward to the awards ceremony. Then I posted “we’re going to need your help bringing a trophy back” on the wall of a teammate I was worried might not make it down there. Then I went to Bardog, unfortunately forgetting to check my email one more time before leaving.
Team president Moody was already at Bardog. “That’s weird,” I thought. “After the cooks, isn’t the team president the most important team member to have at judging?” And then I thought, “Why are several of my other teammates here as well?”
“Did you get my email?” Moody asked. “We couldn’t get the cooker up to temperature last night. We didn’t know that the cooker we had was only designed for warm weather. It’s never been in the 50s for long periods of time at any BBQ Fest we’ve done. So we just didn’t know. We couldn’t serve the judges undercooked pork, so we had to serve them nothing.” That was disappointing to hear. We’ll be getting a new smoker. The good news was, the cooks had got the temperature up by 11 or so, so there would be food for the team to eat.
Seeing no rush to get down there, I ordered some PBRs at Bardog and caught up with bartender Panda, who had been in our booth for a while Friday night. Then about 12:15 I got a call. “Hey Paul, do you know there are only two people down here?” she said. “Just John D and me.” Well, that’s not good. You don’t want that few teammates there, to avoid situations where moochers try to come in and steal bottles of liquor or T-shirts. I tabbed out and hurried down there.
By the time I got there a few more people had showed up and were working to get the food situation going. Our board member Frank was manning the grill, along with two guys who weren’t even on the team (but I hope they are next year) but just wanted to help out. Also, the team member who called me to come down to the park was busy making burgers. I’m not going to call them out by name here (although I may later on Facebook) but they know who they are and their hard work was definitely noted and appreciated.
I do want to thank Bones and Dennis who came over from Squeal Street to take a look at the grill. They noticed there was a lot of ash in the bottom and showed us how to get it out. They said it was a possible cause of our temperature issues. Squeal Street offered their help all throughout the festival if we needed it. Maybe we should have taken them up on it earlier than Saturday.
Food came out, and the mood in the tent lightened. We cooked everything in the refrigerator. I got a plate of pork shoulder and a burger and caught up with our inspirational leader/father figure on a few things that happened in the tent Thursday and Friday night. The weather in the park was much cooler than I expected – WeatherBug showed a high of 69, so I walked down there only in a T-shirt and shorts. However, the temps most of the days were in the 50s, dropping to the low 50s by the time the sun went down. I was cold but determined to have a good time. At least the booth had a second story to cover us if rain came through. I drank and dance right until we were kicked out of the park at 10.
By 10 it was lightly raining. I had no choice but to walk north and deal with the rain. Squeal Street’s booth, which had not yet been shut down was on the way out and I stopped for some bites of lasagna with Bones and Leigh, the last two members of that team left standing. One last great BBQ Fest memory. Then it was time for the cold walk home.
You can see the pics here.